Annie’s mailbox: The impact of emotional affairs

Men often don’t realize impact of emotional affairs

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Q. Two years ago, I caught my husband having an emotional affair with a friend of ours. Even though we went through counseling and he told me he was no longer in contact with her, he lied. He continued to lie for almost a year, even during our counseling sessions. In one session, he tried to blame me for his actions, and after six months, he still refused to take any responsibility for the affair.


This whole thing has made me not trust him. I recently saw an email to an ex-girlfriend from high school. He said he wished he had been a better person, and that he would be looking for a woman like her.


He says they were just reminiscing about the past. I believe he is up to his old ways. I know he wouldn’t like it if the tables were turned. Am I wrong to be upset and ready to divorce him? – Disappointed and Heartbroken


A. You aren’t wrong to be upset, but whether or not to divorce him is a more difficult choice. Men often don’t realize how hurtful an emotional affair can be. They don’t understand that it is still a betrayal, and consequently, they don’t always do the necessary work to heal the marriage from what they justify as a harmless flirtation.


Right now, your husband cannot be trusted to be faithful or honest. He won’t change unless he recognizes and admits that his behavior is wrong. Please go back to your counselor on your own and discuss what you can live with, whether you believe your husband will grow up anytime soon, and what the best course of action is for you.


Dear Annie: I am part of a family business, and I work from an office in my home. I get dressed for work every day, the same as those who work outside the home. I am as important to our company as everyone else. If I’m not in my office, I miss phone calls from customers, vendors and employees who have to wait for me to get back to take care of their needs. I have siblings and an elderly mother who all live nearby. Because they think I “don’t work,” I am the one called upon to take Mom to doctor appointments and run errands for her. In addition, I am asked by family and friends to care for children who are home sick or cannot get to their regular child care provider. Taking time from my job puts me behind, and I often have to work evenings and weekends to catch up. These days, more and more people are working from home. Please tell others to be respectful. – Work-at-Home USA


Dear Work: Working from home often gives others the impression that you don’t actually work or that your time isn’t that important. And while it may give you more flexibility with your hours, it is still the same number of hours, which would require working evenings and weekends to make up time spent doing other things during the day.


It would help for you to set boundaries. If you can manage to do these favors without resentment, go right ahead. But if you don’t want to babysit little Johnny, say, “So sorry, but I’m working and can’t take care of him. You’ll have to make other arrangements.” If you say it enough times, they will get it.


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